Friday, February 8, 2019

30-Second Book Review: Black Empire by George Schuyler

In the 1930s, Black people in America were fantasizing about constructing invincible flying warships, promoting hi-tech agriculture to feed millions, stockpiling destructive ray guns, and secretly rallying behind a mad genius who was plotting to take over the world using advanced science and superior intellect.  This Black mastermind who wove devious webs of intrigue interlaced with murder and mystery is what conservative writer George Schuyler offered to readers in a weekly newspaper serial. He considered his stories "hokum" and merely parodies of the back-to-Africa movement, but his themes were early AFROFuturism at its best. Melodramatic danger, dark romance, week-to-week cliff-hangers, surprise turnabouts, and hard-won bloody victories make Schuyler's Black Empire (a combination of his published short stories)  a treasure chest of Afrocentric speculative fiction.

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